Yesterday, I watched Dogville (2003) on DVD with my daughter, who had to watch it for her final year in high school. Her assignment: searching for Brechtian alienation elements. That wasn’t hard: the whole film is an attack on the suspension of disbelief.
The film is an indictment of the hypocrisy of small town morality. Its most dislikable character is Tom Edison Jr., the wannabe writer, would be philosopher and cowardly lover who abuses Grace’s trust time after time.
Von Trier’s tale reminded me both of Thomas Hardy and the misery of Jude the Obscure and of the festering perversion in the small town of Samuel Fuller’s The Naked Kiss.
It appears that the introduction of sound film coincides with the drafting of the Production Code. Did sound pose a threat more than imagery? Or was it the combination of sound and image that finally saw film evolving from a mere sideshow attraction to a genuine and ‘real’ mode of fiction consumption?
I remember a scene in Duck Soup where the Marx Brothers poke fun at the Production Code by showing a woman’s bedroom and then showing a woman’s shoes on the floor, a man’s shoes and horseshoes. Harpo is sleeping in the bed with a horse; the woman is in the twin bed next to them.